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Often lost their quivering beam,
Still the lights move slow before, Till they rest their ghastly gleam
Right against an iron door.
Thundering voices from within,
Mix'd with peals of laughter, rose ; As they fell, a solemn strain
Lent its wild and wondrous close !
Midst the din, he seem'd to hear
Voice of friends, by death removed ;Well he knew that solemn air,
'Twas the lay that Alice loved.
Hark! for now a solemn knell
Four times on the still night broke ; Four times, at its deaden'd swell,
Echoes from the ruins spoke.
As the lengthen'd clangors die,
Slowly opes the iron door! Straight a banquet met his eye,
But a funeral's form it wore !
Not alone he nursed the poet's flame, Bat reach'd from Virtue's hand the patriot steel." The circumstance of their being written by a poet returning from the well-fought field he describes, and in which his country's fortune was secured, may confer on Tchudi's verses an interest which they are not entitled to claim from their poetical merit. But ballad poetry, the more literally it is translated, the more it loses its simplicity, without acquiring either grace or strength; and, therefore, some of the faults of the verses must be imputed to the translator's feeling it a duty to keep as closely as possible to his original. The various puns, rude attempts at pleasantry, and disproportioned episodes, must be set down to Tchudi's account, or to the taste of his age.
The military antiquary will derive some amusement from the minute particulars which the martial poet has recorded. The mode in which the Austrian men-at-arms received the charge of the Swiss, was by forming a phalanx, which they defended with their long lances. The gallant Winkelreid, who sacrificed his own life by rushing among the spears, clasping in his arms as many as he could grasp, and thus opening a gap in those iron battalions, is celebrated in Swiss history. When fairly mingled together, the unwieldy length of their weapons, and cumbrous weight of their defensive armor, rendered the Austrian men-at-arms a very unequal match for the light-armed mountaineers. The victories obtained by the Swiss over the German chivalry, hitherto deemed as formidable on foot as on horseback, led to important changes in the art of war. The poet describes the Austrian knights and squires as cutting the peaks from their boots ere they could act upon foot, in allusion to an inconvenient piece of foppery, often mentioned in the middle ages. Leopold III., Archduke of Austria, called “ The handsome manat-arms,” was slain in the Battle of Sempach, with the flower of his chivalry.
Coffins for the seats extend ;
All with black the board was spread; Girt by parent, brother, friend,
Long since number'd with the dead !
Alice, in her grave-clothes bound,
Ghastly smiling, points a seat; All arose, with thundering sound;
All the expected stranger greet.
High their meagre arms they wave,
Wild their notes of welcome swell:“Welcome, traitor, to the grave!
Perjured, bid the light farewell !”
The Battle of Sempach.
THE BATTLE OF SEMPACH.?
'Twas when among our linden-trees
The bees had housed in swarms (And gray-hair'd peasants say that these
Betoken foreign arms),
THESE verses are a literal translation of an ancient Swiss ballad upon the battle of Sempach, fought 9th July, 1386, being the victory by which the Swiss cantons established their independence ; the author, Albert Tchudi, denominated the Souter, from his profession of a shoemaker. He was a citizen of Lucerne, esteemed highly among his countrymen, both for his powers as a MeisterSinger, or minstrel, and his courage as a soldier ; so that he might share the praise conferred by Collins on Æschylus, that
1 A pun on the Urus, or wild-bull, which gives name to 1819). It was composed during Sir Walter Scott's severe and the Canton of Uri.
alarming illness of April, 1819, and dictated, in the intervals · The translation of the Noble Moringer appeared originally of exquisite pain, to his daughter Sophia, and his friend Wilin the Edinburgh Annual Register for 1816 (published in liam Laidlaw.-Ed. See Life of Scott, vol. vi. p. 71.
stated to have been extracted from a manuscript
IIL Chronicle of Nicolaus Thomann, chaplain to Saint Then out and spoke that Lady bright, sore troub Leonard in Weisenhorn, which bears the date 1533 ; led in her cheer, and the song is stated by the author to have been “Now tell me true, thou noble knight, what order generally sung in the neighborhood at that early takest thou here; period. Thomann, as quoted by the German Ed. And who shall lead thy vassal band, and hold thy itor, seems faithfully to have believed the event lordly sway, he narrates. He quotes tombstones and obituaries And be thy lady's guardian true when thou art far to prove the existence of the personages of the ballad, and discovers that there actually died, on the 11th May, 1349, a Lady Von Neuffen, Count
IV. ess of Marstetten, who was, by birth, of the house Out spoke the noble Moringer, “Of that have thou of Moringer. This lady he supposes to have been no care, Moringer's daughter, mentioned in the ballad. He There's many a valiant gentleman of me holds quotes the same authority for the death of Berck- living fair;
[my state, hold Von Neuffen, in the same year. The editors, The trustiest shall rule my land, my vassals and on the whole, seem to embrace the opinion of Pro- And be a guardian tried and true to thee, my fessor Smith of Ulm, who, from the language of lovely mate. the ballad, ascribes its date to the 15th century. The legend itself turns on an incident not pecu
V. liar to Germany, and which, perhaps, was not un- “ As Christian-man, I needs must keep the vow likely to happen in more instances than one, when which I have plight, crusaders abode long in the Holy Land, and their When I am far in foreign land, remember thy true disconsolate dames received no tidings of their knight ; fate. A story, very similar in circumstances, but And cease, my dearest dame, to grieve, for vain without the miraculous machinery of Saint Thom- were sorrow now, as, is told of one of the ancient Lords of Haigh-hall But grant thy Moringer his leave, since God hath in Lancashire, the patrimonial inheritance of the heard his vow." late Countess of Balcarras; and the particulars are
VI. represented on stained glass upon a window in that ancient manor house."
It was the noble Moringer from bed he made him
boune, And met him there his Chamberlain, with ewer
and with gown: THE NOBLE MORINGER.
He flung the mantle on his back, 'twas furr'd with
He dipp'd his hand in water cold, and bathed his O, WILL you hear a knightly tale of old Bohemian forehead fair.
day, It was the noble Moringer in wedlock bed he
“Now hear,” he said, “ Sir Chamberlain, true vasHe halsed and kiss'd his dearest dame, that was sal art thou mine, as sweet as May,
And such the trust that I repose in that proved And said, “Now, lady of my heart, attend the worth of thine,
For seven years shalt thou rule my towers, and
lead my vassal train, II.
And pledge thee for my Lady's faith till I return “ Tis I have vow'd a pilgrimage unto a distant again." shrine,
VIII. And I must seek Saint Thomas-land, and leave the land that's mine;
The Chamberlain was blunt and true, and sturdily Here shalt thou dwell the while in state, so thou
said he, wilt pledge thy fay,
“ Abide, my lord, and rule your own, and take That thou for my return wilt wait seven twelve
this rede from me; months and a day.”
That woman's faith's a brittle trust - Seven
twelve-months didst thou say? 1 See Introduction to “The Betrothed,” Waverley Novels, I'll pledge me for no lady's truth beyond the vol. xxxvii.
seventh fair day."
words I say.
XV. The noble Baron turn'd him round, his heart was “Thy tower another banner knows, thy steeds full of care,
another rein, His gallant Esquire stood him nigh, he was Mars- And stoop them to another's will thy gallant vastetten's heir,
sal train; To whom he spoke right anxiously, “ Thou trusty And she, the Lady of thy love, so faithful once squire to me,
and fair, Wilt thou receive this weighty trust when I am This night within thy fathers' hall she weds Marso'er the sea ?
XVI. “ To watch and ward my castle strong, and to It is the noble Moringer starts up and tears his protect my land,
beard, And to the hunting or the host to lead my vassal “ Oh would that I had ne'er been born! what
tidings have I heard ! And pledge thee for my lady's faith till seven
To lose my lordship and my lands the less would long years are gone,
be my care, And guard her as Our Lady dear was guarded by But, God I that e'er a squire untrue should wed Saint John ?”
my Lady fair.
XVII. Marstetten's heir was kind and true, but fiery, hot, “O good Saint Thomas, hear,” he pray'd,“ my
patron Saint art thou, And readily he answer made with too presump- A traitor robs me of my land even while I pay my tuous tongue;
[name, My noble lord, cast care away, and on your jour- My wife he brings to infamy that was so pure of
[have end. And I am far in foreign land, and must endure the And trust this charge to me until your pilgrimage shame.”
XVIII. Rely upon my plighted faith, which shall be truly It was the good Saint Thomas, then, who heard tried,
his pilgrim's prayer, To guard your lands, and ward your towers, and And sent a sleep so deep and dead that it o'erwith your vassals ride ;
power'd his care ; And for your lovely Lady's faith, so virtuous and He waked in fair Bohemian land outstretch'd beso dear,
side a rill, I'll gage my head it knows no change, be absent High on the right a castle stood, low on the left a thirty year.”
XIX. lhe noble Moringer took cheer when thus he The Moringer he started up as one from spell unheard him speak,
bound, And doubt forsook his troubled brow, and sorrow And dizzy with surprise and joy gazed wildly all left his cheek;
around; A long adieu he bids to all-hoists topsails, and “ I know my fathers' ancient towers, the mill, the away,
stream I know, And wanders in Saint Thomas-land seven twelve- Now blessed be my patron Saint who cheer'd his months and a day.
pilgrim's woe !"
XX. It was the noble Moringer within an orchard He leant upon his pilgrim staff, and to the mill he slept,
drew, When on the Baron's slumbering sense a boding So alter'd was his goodly form that none their vision crept;
[charity, And whisper'd in his ear a voice, “ 'Tis time, Sir The Baron to the miller said, “Good friend, for Knight, to wake,
Tell a poor palmer in your land what tidings may Thy lady and thy heritage another master take.
there be ?"